Tesco’s new Farm brands – smart move?

update 22/7/16 – you can also read my (brief!) thoughts on this topic in Campaign here  from March and here in July.

On Monday Tesco launched seven new ‘brands’ across fresh food, all bearing the names of fictional farms and ‘exclusively at Tesco’, i.e. Own Label in branded clothing.

image credit – NFU

Essentially, Tesco are pulling their ‘everyday value’ ranges across meat, fruit and veg upmarket by means of literal Brand Value.  Aldi and Lidl have been doing it for ages – most of their ‘branded’ products are in fact own label made-up brands produced exclusively for the retailer.  Some of which are very much in the style of the original…


Aldi’s brandjacking of Lurpak into Norpak, image courtsey of Solopress

As the Aldi ads say, like brands, only cheaper.  Anyway, back to Tesco – this move suggests that they are trying to win back the high-low shoppers who buy just-can’t-live-without brands like Heinz Tomato Ketchup from Tesco then nip across the road to Aldi, Lidl or Netto to do the rest of their shop, perceiving that their second stop will offer similar or better quality than Tesco for a lower price.  If the Value products at Tesco look this good then customer’s quality perceptions at this price point should rise accordingly.

I wrote should. The NFU (National Farmer’s Union) are upset that the new packaging implies British grown food which might not be the case and that it is sourced from a single farm, which certainly isn’t the case.  The national newspapers (who seem to report on the Big 4 grocer’s continuing difficulties as some kind of gripping soap opera) have been quick to inform their readers of Tesco’s smokescreen.

This leaves the door wide open for Morrisons and their new Morrisons Makes It strapline to start talking about provenance and their uniquely vertically integrated supply chain – they own a lot of the British farms that supply their fresh food and a lot of the abattoirs and factories that process them too.

So, overall, was it smart move for Tesco or not? Will it tempt the Aldirati back?  I’m going to say that while moving to branded was very smart, making up farm names in an age when provenance is becoming ever more important was a bit short-sighted.

Updated same day to include this very relevant point from self confessed retail geek @BeansJust:

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